Britain’s last military flight left Kabul late on Saturday after evacuating more than 15,000 people.

We should be proud of our armed forces, welcoming to those coming for a better life and sad for those left behind,” Defence Minister Ben Wallace said.

Operation Pitting was the name of the British military operation to evacuate British nationals and eligible Afghans from Afghanistan.

The operation involved more than 1,000 military personnel, including soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade.

Over 15,000 people were airlifted to safety on more than 100 British military flights in the UK’s biggest evacuation since the Second World War.

It has been reported that more than 8,000 Afghans who helped the British effort as interpreters or in other roles, or who are otherwise vulnerable to persecution by the regime, were also able to flee to safety with their families.

Around 2,200 of those airlifted were children, with the youngest just one day old.

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TabYomper
TabYomper
1 month ago

Well done Paras for doing a role that your not trained to do as your first job.The Americans also showed deep compassion for a people whos future is very bleak.

Jack
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  TabYomper

One of the stand out images of the evacuation was of the US serviceman lifting an Afghan baby over the security fence by it’s arm, uncertain if it would ever be reunited with it’s parents.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago

Once more Afghanistan has won; yet once more Afghanistan looses.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

It can’t be said any better than than that Gavin, summed up beautifully 👍

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Thanks, John.
Aside, two rapid strikes now by US on ISIS-K; source Taliban – ? China, with no democratic concerns, waiting in the economic wings if ‘Taliban’ can show stability. Assumes Taliban are a coherent political force, but I suspect they’re virtually as much a comglomeration of main-chancers as any other grouplng over there.
Regards.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Very true Gavin, the Chinese are ready, cheque book open, pen poised to start signing off on Mining operations …. But, they will want stable Government and no civil war. The growing concern over a face off, leading to renewed civil war with the nucleus of the old Northern Alliance, is a growing concern. We have discussed here over the past few weeks, ‘if’ the Taliban can pull it off, put the guns and the hard-line rhetoric away and actually run a country. From a Western perspective, prevention of international terrorism is the priority. Keep food in the shops, keep… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by John Clark
Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

The graveyard of Empires , the training school of extremism , How long will it be before boots are back on the ground Dunkirkabul ?

Jack
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommo

The graveyard of hope.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

The last gift in Pandora box

Donaldson
Donaldson
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommo

I suspect US/UK SOF will operate there for many more years..

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Donaldson

Who said that they had left

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommo

And another little thing the Americans are going to do a lot of over the horizon missions as the poppy fields of helmand will once again supply Americas addicts and give the taliban much needed revenue

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommo

I’m not sure that’s right Tommo, Opium farming actually substantially reduced under the Taliban and went though the roof when we were there…. We will see. As you say, UK/US Special Forces will be operational in country, the difference is, they will be reverting to their original core SF mission of intelligence gathering and targeting for air strikes, a small stealthy, tucked away footprint in country… Perhaps the odd deniable Sniper shot, but I wouldn’t expect much in the way of guns blazing direct attacks, unless things fall apart of course and the Taliban loose their grip and it drops… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Amrulla Saleh, and the tribes of as we called them the Northern Allience will undoubtedly be a thorn in the side of a well equipped Taliban , I just hope that a genocide is nor on the cards ,what the Taliban say and what the Taliban do is questionable at the least

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommo

We will see Tommo, the Taliban know they have to push into and subjugate the Panjshir valley while things are still in a state of flux.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Tribal allegiances are stronger than an unelected defacto government such as the taliban it won’t be done with Beads and blankets ,but with ex American hardware unfortunately

Steve Salt
Steve Salt
1 month ago

We leave Afghanistan ignominiously for the 3rd time but well done to the RAF, 2 Para and the embassy staff for a professional job in very difficult circumstances.
God help all those that remain.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve Salt
Steve
Steve
1 month ago

For all tbe negatives this has shown, thanks to endless cuts in numbers and numpty government and their holdiays, this shows just how professional and skilled our troops are. Efficient and fast deployment and it seems they did a Stella job whilst out there.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

The Maroon Machine led the way, doing what they do best, glad we counted them all out and all safety home….

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago

Be interesting to see how many of these Afghan ” allies” fleeing the practitioners of fundamentalist Islam repudiate their faith when given sanctuary in the West.
Or will just see more cultural enrichment?

Jack
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Hopefully they be will be like Miami’s Cuban population. Maintaining their identity while also adding to the UK and giving a reality check to the idiots who seem very quick to swallow the propaganda of our enemy.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Can’t see that happening even though on official documents it states Her Britiannic majesty’s government and the Queen is the Head of the Church of England these New arrivals will still turn to Mecca not to Westminster Abbey, but if they do then I’ll eat my Cassock and Cotter

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Some very decent and loyal Afghans, some real characters. Hard working and good humoured. Just because they are coming to the UK doesn’t mean they have to give up on there religion.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

It isn’t religion that is often the issue mate. Or colour, or race. One can be whatever they like. It is culture, and how one behaves when in a new nation. Will they take the UK as their own and their home, or be just another group not integrating with the indigenous population? FGM, forced marriage, or marriage only with your own culture, just a few examples, and of course the Council Tax sheet available in hundreds of different languages for those who are here but evidently not integrating at all as they do not speak a word of English.… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago

It’s a very serious and complicated point mate. I guess if we had to be evacuated from the UK and taken to a middle eastern country. Would we become Muslim, and take on the local traditions and way of life? Or would we set up little Britain in the desert, and live like expats do in many countries with a large British expat communities and a paddy bar down the road. I guess it’s very hard to say until we are in the same position. And it’s not being racist mate, these are legitimate concerns. If we don’t help, we… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Depends what part of the middle east, if got taken to dubai little britain and the paddy bar already exist. If got taken to Riyadh well the other option.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Why should they give up their religion?

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Damo

Perhaps because they have fled almost certain death at the hands of the adherents of fundamentalist Islam.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

And that is the reason to give up your religion? Because of some nutters? A lot of us might, me included, but you can’t force them to. Lots of different branches of Islam like there are christianity.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Damo

Lots of branches, all the main ones locked into a primitive pre medieval mindset that is utterly alien to the way the Christian West has progressively reformed itself.
I can’t think of a much better reason to turn your back on this religion than what has been done to you in its name.
I don’t expect it but it would be good to see.

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

Daily Telegraph, Sat 28 Aug 2021, page 8, “Kabul shows we still need boots on the ground”. “The MoD’s decision to de-prioritise strategic lift aircraft, including plans to scrap the 14 strong RAF fleet of C-130 Hercules planes next year, was not logical” Prof Chalmers, RUSI. Ben Barry, IISS “The British don’t seem to have invested in rapidly deployable helicopters in the way the US has. Defence ministers really want to have a hard look at that reduction in strategic lift and rotary capabilities in the Integrated Review”.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

All fair comments but let’s face it we do not have a government that is interested in details and blocked an enquiry into the events of there, so lessons won’t be learnt

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

A full and detailed enquiry needs to be held, from initial SF engagement, to full troop engagement and most importantly, the decisions made to switch to full Nation Building.

Lessons have to be learnt and Boris blocking an in depth enquiry isn’t helping.

From an immediate perspective, the folly of reducing our airlift capability has to be carefully studied and it should inform upcoming Puma replacement programme too.

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I think the invasion of Iraq took the eye off the ball in Afghanistan. We could of been out by 2004/5. The US should Not have invaded Iraq in 2003, John!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion x

No argument from me, the invasion of Iraq was a huge folly, one just about everyone I know disagreed with, it’s destabilising shockwaves continue to reverberate around the middle East, 18 years later.

When Blair had the nerve to show his face on the news the other day to criticise the withdrawal … Noone in my household heard a thing through my endless stream of expletives at the TV!

One of the very architects of the Whole 20 year sandbox nightmare, has the nerve to say anything, absolutely incredible……

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

An unbelievable performance from Blair, unchallenged by the interviewer. His uncritical support of the USA after 11/9 tied us into a military adventure that history showed would probably fail. We should never have accepted the USA invoking NATO mutual defence to drag others in to deal with a terrorist attack.
The ” imbecilic” timetable to withdraw was first announced by Obama in 2014 when ISAF. combat operations were ended. Seven years to plan the final pullout should have been ample to allow it to be done efficiently.

Donaldson
Donaldson
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

If we add refuelling probes to the new MH-47s we’re ordering and get A400M plumbed for A2A refuelling we can have rapidly deployable helicopters.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Donaldson

Merlins are plumbed for AAF, its just something RAF has never done

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago
Reply to  Johan

AAR for the Merlins will be a RN issue in future.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Donaldson

I’m pretty sure the AirTanker Contract won’t allow any A400’s to be used for AAR, that is why the RAF requirement went from 25 Aircraft to 22.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

we have only just within the last 4 weeks returned to the UK the last 3 Puma’s. cannot fit a Merlin in a HERC, has to be an A400M. New Medium lift for the RAF is in planning to be Air portable.
but as Afghanistan is landlocked transporting Helicopters back was not a option
Merlins/wildcats/pumas are all air portable. USA has left 38 Blackhawks in STAN. Along with some 225 humvee and other trucks.
UK didnt leave its minister’s car behind but it was full of embassy documents and computers.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Johan

And his duty frees don’t forget that

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  Johan

C-130J is more for rough field special forces transport i.e. getting to places the A400M cannot at the moment. That may come in the future. Before the RAF bought 25x C-130J, it was proposed the RAF buy 34 A400M in order to transport a certain meaningful force to the Middle East in a short period of time. The UK needs something like a CSAR Blackhawk, that can be quickly wheeled in & out of a A400M, without major dis & re assembly. I would copy the French/Germans & keep 4 to 6 refurbed RAF C-130J for special forces use &… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Absolute no brainer.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I agree CSAR Blackhawk should be part of an order for 50 Blackhawks….

They have to get AAR capability into the A400’s and increase the number of them…

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago

Fantastic demonstration of the RAF’s strategic airlift capability. To deploy over 1000 Military personnel,sustain them, and safely fly home 15,000 in two weeks is a remarkable achievement in extremely challenging conditions, and over 3000 miles from home. Now let’s keep those Hercules, and work on improving A400 availability. This operation should be a lesson learnt for the whole of NATO, on just how reliant we are on American resources. But vert few countries could do what the UK has done. 🇬🇧

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Bravo.

I fear we lose the Hercs though.

How many times have we seen reviews conclusions going in the face of reality, and often, in the case of the army, of their own conclusions regards vitality of armour and firepower.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago

another report coming out is that Concerning the Hercs. Merlins dont fit in a herc, “never knew that” Puma does just but needs stripping. some of the proposed Medium lift helicopters won’t fit either. its one of the reasons RAF ditched the Merlin.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago

I wouldn’t have a problem retiring the Hercules, if the A400 fleet was going to number 35-40. No matter the type of operation or location, you can never have enough of certain types of capabilitys. Boots on the ground, helicopters, and transport/tanker aircraft and probably ISTAR assets. Hopefully this operation has brought some focus to our lack of numbers. Sticking to keeping the Army at 82k would be a start. 92k should be the absolute minimum for a nation of our standing, with the tech to go with it.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I would argue that a logical thing to do would be to buy the three additional A400M airframes we had originally planned for. I’d keep the Hercs in service until 2030 as planned, then replace them with ~ 14 new A400M to bring some commonality to the transport fleet. That is, of course, providing the production line remains open. I’d also advocate making sure the new medium-lift helicopter can operate in a number of environments to augment current capabilities. I’d aim to embark it on the carriers or future ice patrol/research ships, if possible. Goodness knows we need to expand… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

That certainly sounds like the logical plan. I’m not sure how full the order book is for A400’s. The aircraft has huge potential, once availability problems are solved. I’d put two of them with A2A refueling capability down at the Falklands. Always thought it seemed a bit of a waste of a Voyager airframe being permanently based down south. I’m sure they have very good reason for it.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Agree on all points.

Tim
Tim
1 month ago

Is there anything a C130 can do that an A400 can’t? E.g, carry 20t 2000nm with 2000ft TO? If nothing then why shouldn’t we replace the C130’s with A400’s as their airframe gets old?

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim

Well, there was that recent report of an RAF C-130J that turned off its transponder & snuck into Afghanistan, to land on a makeshift desert strip, to pick up UK Special Forces. I think that sort of thing is beyond A400M at the moment, though Airbus is working on improving improvised airstrip capability. Explains why the French have bought 4x C-130J & the Germans 6x C-130J, for joint special forces use.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

RAF A400’s have been training for rough Field Landings since 2018,whether they are cleared to do it routinely i don’t know but it can be done.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim

By all means replace. Pigs may also fly. My bottom line is always numbers. As good as Atlas may be, longer ranged, greater payload, the Atlas will now have to do the jobs Hercs are doing. So in doing them they will not now be able to do other tasks they could have been doing if deployed with SF. Or will be flying more hours instead of being rested, maintained, whatever. A plane or ship cannot be in two places at once. And the SF requirement will not go away. And fewer of everything goes with increased flying hours, more… Read more »

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

That’s the big one: fatigue on airframes. A larger fleet means you can rotate them around to reduce the time spent on station and increase maintenance/routine inspections. It effectively means you get more use out of the fleet, as you’re spreading out the flying hours and prolonging the life of the airframe. Cutting the Hercs and other transport assets will push their work to the C17, A400M and to an extent, Voyager fleets, effectively meaning they have to do the job of two platforms. I think with the Hercs the logic is as follows: > Original order > Minor cut… Read more »

Nicholas
Nicholas
1 month ago

I wonder if the Taliban will later clamp down in any way on Poppy cultivation across Afghanistan, something the previous administration’s did virtually nothing about. It could be business as usual as far as Poppy’s go.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago

So … I wonder what the UK government has in store for the British trained Afghan special forces?

Seems they were brought back to blighty, as they have shown extreme loyalty, not to mention looking like a very useful bunch.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Was discussing this on other thread with A.

We were thinking along the lines of DHU, JSG HUMINT agent running type work in Afghan.

Will blend in easily enough.

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Hopefully as with the Gurkas they could become a useful tool for UK forces they showed their allegiance to British forces fingers crossed would feel betrayed if there’s cases of Blue on Blue

WIGuy56
WIGuy56
1 month ago

Apparently per a leaked notes of a phone conversation, US Marines held open the Abbey Gate (the gate that was bombed) to allow the UK to evac the last of its people from the nearby Baron Hotel.

Source: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/30/pentagon-mass-casualty-attack-kabul-507481

JohninMK
JohninMK
1 month ago

This, as said, is the biggest airlift the RAF has had to perform since either WW2 or the Berlin Airlift in 1949, that is in 70 or so years. With the assets it has it performed extremely well. Given the reduction in the military profile of the UK that is underway, what is the likelihood of anything similar occurring in the future? I cannot see it happening again, ever. The US/NATO leaving Afghanistan with its tail between its legs has changed everything strategically. After Afghanistan I can’t see the US being in this position again either. The US is going… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Well I have heard “we will never need it again” too many times. We scrapped HMS Ark Royal with its Phantoms & Buccs in 1978, only for the Falklands conflict to come along in 1982. Then, in the 1980s we sold the desert uniforms to Iraq, as we said the British Army would never fight in the desert again. In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait & the British Army needed desert uniforms in a hurry. The 2010 defence review got rid of Nimrods & the harrier/Invincible combo. A year later, they would have been handy for the Libya operations. There are… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

The country has been losing industry for decades.

What industrial policy has been scrapped exactly?

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Germany has been very keen that no country in the EU should have an industrial policy. They say it is anti competitive. What they really mean is that they want no competition to German industry. I suspect Boris abandoned the UK weak industrial policy as a sop to Merkel.
It is not that long ago that the UK had a decent white goods, generic drugs, “silicon glen” chip manufacturing, etc. That would be relatively easy to get back, funded by small tariff increases on Chinese goods. Considering huge Chinese tariffs on British goods, that is only fair.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

So no actual policy has been scrapped then? Yes Germany wants no competition to its industrial base and thats exactly the reason the Euro was forced upon the EU to benefit exports of a couple of countries in the EU, primarily Germany. Uk manufacturing has been in decline for a long long time before Boris came to power and the likes of Blair signing over as much as he could to the EU before he left didnt help. Even look at the likes of TVR trying to build a factory in Wales, its been delayed and delayed and delayed due… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  James

No, there was a policy. Made up of platitudes & wishful thinking. Nothing of substance. A glorified press release really.

WIGuy56
WIGuy56
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

So I’m an American (conservative, not a trump guy though to be clear)…here is a problem (as I see it), with NATO pipelines, everyone is reliant on each other for things like raw materials, which is fine during peacetime. However during a pro-longed conflict where battlefield replacements become a priority, at some point individual nations have to take care of their own militaries. There is a solution, in robotics and autonomous manufacturing processes, this should absolutely be a NATO priority, we may not be able to put thousands to work, but industry shouldn’t exist simply for the workers anyway. Running… Read more »

JohninMK
JohninMK
1 month ago
Reply to  WIGuy56

WIGuy56, If there is a major conflict, like WW3, I suspect that it will be fought and won with what is in place. As just about every target is within range of conventional missiles there will be no ports or airfields left for major resupply operations. Only the US has taken part in a major war without its homeland being attacked and that no longer applies. We in the West do indeed need to up our game, both with regard to our own populations and the way we treat others. As we have just painfully found out again, we are… Read more »

JohninMK
JohninMK
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

John, I agree with you but still believe that, almost regardless of the situation, we do not have the financial, let alone the industrial or military resources to do anything similar to those events again. We will have to get used to our new place in the World over the next decade or so, more perhaps like Spain or Italy.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  JohninMK

I don’t disagree but the Integrated Review etc set out a policy of more forward basing to facilitate interventions. If we could get beyond the global Britain spin, we could, even with the present budget, afford to create and maintain forces fully capable of defending UK territories and our near neighbours.
The US defence Secretary has said he sees more value in European allies concentrating their efforts closer to home than deploying token forces in the Pacific.